The Danger of Multitasking and 5 Good Mono-tasks for SMBs

POSTED BY Liz Kennedy - 07.30.14 - Digital marketing

Wordle_for_blogEven as far back as 2009 we have known that people who multi-task are doing themselves a disservice (Source: Stanford News). Not only did they perform worse on tasks than those who didn’t try to multi-task, they actually harmed their cognitive function. And there is a difference in those considered ‘heavy multi-taskers’ versus ‘light multi-taskers.’  When it comes to your business, do you consider yourself a heavy or light multi-tasker?


What this key study found out was that we are never truly multi-tasking. 


Instead, our brains are actually switching from one task to another, extremely rapidly. This causes our brain to work harder (referred to as heavy cognitive load) and sloppier (more errors) due to the frantic pace at which we require it to switch tasks.  The worst part? Most study participants rated themselves as ‘excellent at multitasking.’

Good or Bad? The Battle Begins


Lately, business journals are ripe with the latest and greatest method to regain focus, as well as articles on why multitasking is not so bad. Inc. Magazine has showered 2014 with as many articles on why multitasking is bad as those that highlighted the benefits of multitasking on innovation and profitability (Source: search results, July 22,2014). Most small businesses don’t have the luxury to choose one problem to work on at a time. So they have to get creative to keep their business growing while they maintain their own health. 

Is there Digital Marketing Help for Small Businesses?

In our work, we talk with many small to medium-sized businesses like yours every day.  We want to help you stay focused on what you do best – running your business. Regardless of your feelings about multitasking, we know your attention is being constantly pulled by the complexity of maintaining a successful business.  You want to stay focused on building relationships, quality control, excellent customer service or other core duties.  However, you can’t just ignore the need to be found online and your page rank in search results. You can’t procrastinate much longer on getting a responsive website or redesigning your website to be mobile-friendly.  If your business is growing rapidly or getting sluggish, these are both great times to engage with a digital marketing agency to assist you.  It’s also a great time to learn about the new tools out there online. Here are some things you can do yourself that will help you transition into the digital realm.

5 Good Mono-tasks for Small Business:

  1. Educate: Reduce the overload by picking a topic to educate yourself on each week or month. Make August “Learn about SEO” Month, for example.
  2. Talk to colleagues: Ask your business associates what they do for digital marketing. Ask them what is working for them, and see if it applies to your business.
  3. Use project management software: While you shouldn’t try to do everything at once, project management software can help you stay focused. Tools such as Trello or Toggl can help you track your priorities for the day or week.
  4. Try a new digital platform: Take on one new (free) outlet to promote your business.  Try Facebook or YouTube to engage with your audience. Just make sure that channel is where your business’ audience is.
  5. Measure: Whatever new efforts you take on, try to get a baseline measurement before you start. You want to be able to measure the effectiveness of your strategy, or if you are using a service, ask your service provider for a baseline.

You may feel you don’t have the luxury to mono-task when you are juggling so many responsibilities. Yet mono-tasking isn’t about spending two hours on a task, it is about beginning a task with an intention, and following through before switching to another task. To help you stay focused on your digital marketing, we have put together a plethora of resources like our Website Redesign Checklist.

Website Redesign Guide

Liz Kennedy

Liz Kennedy

Website Project Manager Liz Kennedy hails from a multi-disciplinary background. Her training in instructional design, multimedia, website development and deep understanding of small business helps Liz bridge the technical divide for customers going through the website development process. And she makes a mean potato salad.

Find me on:

Website Redesign Checklist
business blogging for businesses